Kevin Harvick would match Denny Hamlin with his fifth win of the season as he held off the field after a plethora of late cautions Saturday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway. It is Harvick’s 54th win in his career, tying him with Lee Petty on the all-time wins list.
The NASCAR Cup Series went to work at Michigan for the first race of a doubleheader weekend Saturday afternoon.
The usual suspects would lead early as pole sitter Joey Logano would hold the lead up until the lap 15 competition caution. Denny Hamlin would take the lead from Logano after the restart, but three laps later, Kevin Harvick would overtake him and go on to win stage one for his third stage victory of the year.
Prior to the end of the stage, Martin Truex Jr. and Tyler Reddick would make contact that would cause flat tires for both of them. They would both fall a lap down.
Stage two would go without a hitch as Harvick and Ryan Blaney would battle it out for the stage win. With nine to go in the stage, Harvick would clear Blaney to sweep the stages for the day.
Two cautions would come out in the final stage, both coming from John Hunter Nemechek. On the pit stop following the second Nemechek caution, Kyle Busch would take fuel only to try to gain some track position, but it would not be enough to hold off Harvick as he retook the lead with ease.
A third Nemechek caution would come out with 26 laps to go.
On the ensuing restart, Chase Elliott would take advantage of the choose rule and be the first car on the inside. He would get a push from Brad Keselowski to clear Harvick for the lead. However, Ryan Preece would get into the wall off of turn two to bring out another caution.
The following restart would see Kyle Busch take the lead, but coming off of turn 4, Harvick would take the air off of Busch’s car, causing Busch to get loose and fall all the way back to ninth.
On the next lap, Cole Custer would wreck in turn three to bring out a late caution. The red flag would be displayed to clean up fluid that was leaked onto the track.
On the restart with three to go, Bubba Wallace forced it three-wide to take second but would be stuck in the middle line. Austin Dillon and Ryan Newman would wreck down the frontstretch to force an overtime restart.
Keselowski would fight hard on the inside with Harvick for the lead, but Harvick would clear down the frontstretch to pull away and take the win.
Keselowski’s second-place finish is the third time in a row he has finished second or won. Truex Jr. finished third. Blaney finished fourth and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five.
Hamlin finished sixth. Elliott finished seventh. Logano finished eighth. Wallace finished ninth, which is a career-high fourth top-10 finish in a season. Kurt Busch would round out the top 10.
The Cup Series will return to Michigan Sunday afternoon to cap off the doubleheader weekend.